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Saturday, April 28, 2018

Take A History Break :: Salt

Salt = NACL2 is a poison as it stands but a need by the human body. Not enough and the body is in trouble, too much the body may face issues again. Through history salt has been very present as well. The Bible shares that Jesus in his own words "Ye are the salt of the earth" Roman soldiers would be paid in both money an in salt. Today, farmers buy blocks of salt to offer to the animals, wild animals will visit salt licks regularly as well. In Illinois salt has a rich history as well

Prior to 1735 the salt springs in southern Illinois were controlled by the Indians. This changed when the French took control. The Saline River travels through Equality in Gallatin County Illinois. (about 20 minutes from my home) As we know in history the French would lose control during the French and Indian War which took place between 1756 and 1763.

The early 1800s would witness a salt war between two great Indian tribes. The Shawnees and the Kaskaskians battled not only over hunting grounds but control of the salt works as well. The Kaskasians would lose the battle. Following the battle a treaty between the Indian tribes and the United States agreed upon a treaty. In the treaty agreement  the United States would offer 150 bushels of "white gold" aka salt from the Saline Salt Springs to the chiefs and the Native Americans would abandon Southern Illinois.

The story of how the Saline Salt Works would continue on and you can find in many books including one titled Sex, Slaves and Mr. Henshaw. Salt production would continue until 1870 when competition from West Virginia salt mines drove the springs out of business.

Value of BlueBerries

I can recall as a girl my grandmother (who was a farmers wife) going out picking berries. I often wondered if she was like me and ate a few, picked a few like we did but then that is another story.... My grandmother would head out to pick berries and when we arrived to see her that afternoon she would have a delicious blueberry cobbler baked in the oven for us all to enjoy. These beautiful purple / blue hued berries are much more than they seem. As small as they are they can be made into a number of tasty treats and carry a punch in health protection as well. They are low in fat, carbs and calories as well as high in fiber, vitamins and minerals. In the post below you will find a delicious blueberry recipe and some health benefits as well.

Health Benefits of BlueBerries

Blueberries are a good source of vitamin K, C, fiber, manganese and other antioxidants. Many believe that adding blueberries to their diet is one change that can offer great nutrition rewards. Blueberries help support hearth health, the fiber helps to reduce amount of cholesterol in the blood and decrease the risk of heart disease. Blueberries help protect the brain from stress and help reduce the effects of age related conditions such as Alzheimer's disease or dementia. Blueberries are packed with vitamins A, C, and E and other antioxidants that make them perfect for taking care of hair and skin. Regular eating blueberries can help with better skin and hair.

Easy Blueberry Bars

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 cup graham cracker crumbs (about 6 whole graham crackers)
1 (8 ounce) package fat free cream cheese, softened
1 (8 ounce package) reduced fat cream cheese, softened
¾ cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 (10 ounce) jar blueberry fruit spread
1 cup blueberries

Preheat the oven to 350F. Mix butter and graham cracker crumbs in a 9x13-inch baking pan. Press the mixture firmly into the bottom of the pan creating a thin even layer. Refrigerate while you prepare the filling.
In a large mixing bowl beat the cream cheeses with an electric mixer on medium high until creamy. Add sugar, eggs, vanilla, and lemon juice and beat until creamy and well blended.
Stir the fruit spread around in the jar until it is spreadable and then spread it evenly over the crust. Sprinkle blueberries over the jam. Spread the cream cheese mixture evenly over the blueberries.
Bake for 30 minutes, until set and slightly puffed. Remove from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature before covering with plastic wrap and placing in the refrigerator to chill completely. Cut into 32 bars
recipe resource here

Did You Know

The pale, powder-like protective coating on the skin of blueberries is called “bloom.”

Friday, April 27, 2018

What Is a Devil Dog

A motivated U.S. Marine may also be known as a devil dog. The nickname was given to the marines by German soldiers during the Battle of Belleau Wood in 1918. The fierce fighting of the Marines left them with the nickname "Devil Dogs" April 1918 newspaper in the United States the LaCrosse Tribune described the marines using the term "Devil Dogs" Today, the term "Devil Dog" is a common nickname for all Marines. It is a historically accepted term of endearment and implies honor.

The Red Bud Tree

One of my all time favorite trees is the red bud tree. The beauty is the red bud is one that expresses beauty of multi seasons. Spring as the beautiful buds begin and quickly turn to little flowers and slowly to green leaves. Summer you will view the beauty of the pods that will stay on the tree even after the leaves begin to drop off in the fall. The smaller stature of the red-bud tree demands its presence in nature. Many residents desire the redbud tree in their own yard. 

The redbud tree does best when grown in moist well drained areas. They have been grown in most of the eastern United States. Redbuds have been present as far west as the states of Oklahoma and Texas and North into Canada. 

Arbor Day

Arbor day is always the last Friday in April. National Arbor Day is a day for tree lovers. It has been celebrated since 1872 and started in Nebraska. During the 1800s Nebraska was mostly a treeless plain. As a way to help nature and the environment Arbor day was started by planting a tree The national Arbor Day foundation provides millions of trees that will be planted. Around 18 million trees are planted each year on Arbor Day.

In 1872 Journalist J. Sterling Morton in Nebraska City Nebraska founded National Arbor Day. As a journalist he had resources others did not. He was able to spread agricultural knowledge and his enthusiasm for trees. One million trees were planted the first National Arbor Day The state of Nebraska would adopt the holiday of Arbor Day and make it a legal holiday to be observed every April 22 Morton's birthday through out the United States and is now observed on the last Friday in the month of April

Arbor Day reflects a hope for the future by planing trees a concern is showed toward future generations. Plant a tree , watch it grow and some day the products that come from it will help to provide shelter from the rain and sun,  help with erosion, offer wildlife somewhere to live, provide wood products and offer inspiring beauty that all can enjoy.

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Sunday, April 22, 2018

Asparagus in the Garden

Asparagus is one vegetable that can be grown in all but the coldest and warmest parts of the United States. The roots will need a season long enough to store energy to produce lots of fat spears. The cold weather could make the asparagus go dormant for a bit.

If you plant to grow asparagus from seed it may take up to three years before the first harvest. For better results start in spring with year old crowns. Crowns are bare root plants without leaves. You will want to ask for the male hybrid plants that outproduce older types. These plants will mature and produce 1/2 pound crowns. Deciding how much to grow will depend on your appetite for asparagus but roughly 5 crowns per person should be enough.

You are preparing a bed that will produce asparagus for years to come. A site that is sunny, well drained and out of the way of traffic is important when choosing the best spot. Compost a space 2 feet wide and dig a 6 to 8 inch trench as the length. Salt the trench with compost and then set crowns 1 1/2 feet apart. Cover crowns, mulch and water

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